Not So Super Bowl

After a not so super bowl, it’s been a brutal forty-eight hours.  Seriously, could there have been a more boring game?  I’d go over some highlights, but the only one I can think of is not having to use Melatonin Sunday night because the game put me to sleep. Unfortunately, we learned during the game that the hubby’s cousin was seriously injured in a snowmobile accident.  She’s presently recovering in ICU at the University of Minnesota, please keep her and our family in your prayers.

super-bowl-memes-more-entertaining-than-the-game-was-30-photos-15Yesterday while I was on a conference call, Goalielocks started screaming.  Fifteen year olds usually don’t scream for S&G, so I was concerned.  I quickly ran out and found him with our eldest and beloved dog Maya.   Maya was coughing up blood and Goalielocks was hysterical.   After calming both of them down, I returned to my call and the hubby called the vet from the job.

We were able to get her into the vet late yesterday afternoon.  My Hubby came home early, so he and Goalielocks were able to take her and I could keep working.  No sooner had they left when Athena began crying and howling.   She had spent her day cuddled next to Maya’s side.   Athena loves her sister and is very protective of her.  Literally, she cried the entire time they were gone.

The vet appointment took a long time, so I had to pick up my Mayor from the bus stop.  I had him take Athena out, but she would only pull him to the front yard and not do her business.  She was too preoccupied with Maya not being there. In fact, she broke out of the garage.  Instead of running freely and as quickly as possible as she usually would, she stopped in the driveway again looking for her sister.

Unfortunately, the doctors found a mass in her lungs that they think is lung cancer.  We are devastated.   Maya is our first dog and has been a member of our family for almost ten years.  Truly, she is an integral part of our family.  The boys took it really hard.  Goalielocks spent the night laying next to her making Maya was comfortable.  The next steps are for Maya to go in for an ultrasound and some additional diagnostic testing. We’re hoping to do this in the next week or two.   Meanwhile, I ordered every CBD treat and treatment I could find for dogs.  I’m anxious to see how our doggies enjoy the peanut butter turmeric CBD treats we bought her.   Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday I took the Mayor to get a haircut. As he gets older, he is looking more and more like Jake.  They truly could be twins separated by a mere seven years.  More than that, he just looks old.  He’s not my baby anymore.   Sunday afternoon he had two games, which were fun to watch. It’s always nice to be at the rink ad with our hockey family.  Plus, it wouldn’t be Super Bowl Sunday if we didn’t have a late afternoon hockey game.  More to come on Sundays games and bad hockey parent behavior in a future post.

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Meanwhile, in Minny my parents survived the brutal cold that is January in Minnesota.  They’re presently looking forward to more accumulating snow as the week wears on.  I have to tell you, I don’t miss it at all.  Nevertheless, I’m relieved that my family is all safe and warm and wasn’t impacted by any of the energy outages experienced during the brutal cold.

I’m off to practice a little yoga and read a little Proust before heading to bed.   Please keep our family in your prayers.

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Busy Bees

We were busy bees this weekend.  As I write this (while watching Rent Live), my hubby and Goalielocks are on their way home from Kissimmee after two hockey games.  The squad did great today winning both of their games.  On doctor’s orders, I’m doing my best to take it easier than usual, so the Mayor and I skipped the trip.  We were out and about all day yesterday, so I definitely needed to rest today.

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As for yesterday, it was phenomenal.  We were invited to share in one of the Mayor’s teammates Bar Mitzvah’s.  The morning started at the temple at 10:00 am.  This was the hubby and my first experience with the Bar Mitzvah ceremony.  While it was long, we really enjoyed it.  Honestly, we were pretty stoked when we were able to follow along with the Hebrew even if we didn’t understand what was being said.  The rabbi did a great job explaining the different parts of the ceremony and tradition, so the uninitiated like us could understand it better.  It was a beautiful and moving service that we were proud to be a part of.

After the ceremony, we headed over to the Parkland Golf and Tennis Club for the party.  It started with a cocktail hour that featured hors d’oeuvres, a fried rice and stir fry bar to go along with the soda bar for the kids and an open bar for the adults.  #winning The food was amazing, but knowing that a dinner was coming we tried to pace ourselves.  While we enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres, the boys played outside looking for golf balls.

Shortly after the boys headed outside, we had to corral them back in and into the main dinner and party.  The room was beautifully decorated with a hockey and music theme and a blue glow.  Wisely, they sat us unruly hockey parents in the back at the section 8 table.  Fortunately, this table put us right next to the open bar!  Again we were winning!

The party got started the minute we walked into the room with a DJ, a MC and dancers.  Our boys were quickly dancing on the stage with the boy of the hour along with the dancers and MC.   They were having a blast!  Since we had just eaten the yummy fried rice, they didn’t serve us dinner right away.  First, we danced. Then out came the salad or the adults and an amazing buffet for the kids.

Our table had a blast celebrating.  I often found myself on the dance floor, which felt amazing.  I’m sure my doctor would feel differently, but oh well.  I had a blast with my fellow hockey moms dancing away our fried rice.   The entertainment company had two dancers that choreographed the dance floor, which made it a lot of fun.

Eventually, I made my way back to the table when I saw the main course was being brought out.  While the kids ate macaroni and cheese, pizza and sliders, the parents ate filet mignon with demi glace and chicken breast.  The presentation reminded me of the black and white that I order at Egon in Norway.  It was composed of steak au poivre and pork tenderloin with bernaise sauce.  We loved it because you got the best of both worlds just like our meal on Saturday.

In anticipation of dessert, I headed back to the dance floor with my fellow hockey moms. We danced to some great classic rock and some greats hits from today.  When they were ready to serve us dessert, they switched the music to rap.  I was then greeted at my table by a beautiful chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce and strawberries.  Yummy!  I was filled to the gills with good food and vodka soda.

Naturally, we headed back to the dance floor.   It was then I came across a magical dessert tray.  A unicorn if you will.  I had to stop and take a picture of the waiter.  He was carrying a tray of snack cakes with shot glasses filled with milk.  Yep, it was as amazing as it sounded.  I should say that while we had delicious chocolate cakes and snack cakes, the boys enjoyed cotton candy, ice cream bar and popcorn.  The party was simply amazing!

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By the time we left the party, it was 5:00 pm and we were ready for bed.  As soon as we got home, the hubby and I both took a nap.   Afterwards, we watched Abdul and Victoria which was amazing.  Dame Judi Dench was, as always, marvelous.  I ended my day with a chapter of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

Today the Mayor and I hung out at home and had a productive day.  I caught up on laundry, so I’ll savor the fact that at least for a couple of hours.  I also got all the grocery shopping done (thank you Shipt – save $50 on the annual membership with code mFNjp) baked muffins, got a massage, organized my closet and made chili this evening.  It was exactly the kind of productive, low-key day I needed. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy Rent Live before heading back to Proust.

Champions in Chicago

Our Panthers’ left Chicago late yesterday as champions.  I guess the winter storm, which was initially cumbersome was a harbinger of our team’s success. By Sunday the roads were nice and dry for our two games out in Geneva.   The rink was a beautiful facility with a great bar (thank you Chelios Pub and Grill,) but was quite far from civilization.  It took an arduous forty-five minutes to get there the first night on questionable roads.  The commutes Sunday and Monday were better, but still long.  Thankfully, our games took place after the storm had stop and the roads were largely cleared.

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Goalielocks played both games Saturday against local teams.  I was happy to have remembered my beta blockers for the game.  He played awesome game 1 and so did his team.  They came away with a 6-1 victory.  Fortunately, the victory was even sweeter for me.  I was blessed to be able to watch the game with my dearest friend Jenny and her kids, who are Chicagoland residents.  They’re awesome people and clearly good luck.  It was quickly agreed upon that they would need to be present at the rest of the games as our good luck charm.

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In between games some of the kids opted for White Castle. We, however, opted for something with less of a laxative effect.  Surprisingly, our hotel had a fabulous restaurant downstairs.  Goalielocks scarfed down a burger, while I enjoyed their yummy chili.  This was also the day I discovered the awesomeness of Adidas joggers and their zipper pockets.  Immediately, after dinner and the conclusion of the Rams/Saints game, Goalielocks and I headed to Dick’s in hope of finding another pair of joggers.  I had given up hope, when Goalielocks discovered a pocket of fancier Adidas at the back of the store. They had more joggers!   I quickly bought a nice pair in black and we headed back to the hotel to prepare for game two.

John, TK, Goalielocks headed back to the rink for game two.  John and I immediately headed to the bar, so we could grab a quick drink before the game and watch the Chiefs/Patriots game.  Sunday night it was Stella Cidre instead of beta blockers.   The cider was quite yummy.

Unlike the morning game, game two on Sunday got off to a much slower and arduous start.  We simply didn’t look good. There weren’t many shots against either goalie in that game with my goalie seeing around 12-15 shots.  Our opponents scored late in the first on a deflection to make it a 1-0 game.  Throughout the second and third period, Goalielocks made some huge saves to keep the team in it.   Unfortunately, it was looking like we were going to end up in the consolation game.  Then we got to less than 5:00 minutes left in the third.  After the referee gave their player a major penalty, we ended up on the power play.  In short order, our squad put in three goals.  Where was this the rest of the game?  It was an awesome end to a solid day of hockey for the team.   The best part of course was the post game celebration as they realized they were championship bound.

We ended our evening and started our Monday morning at the Ale House where it took twice as long to get our bill as it did to get our food.  I don’t for the life of me understand restaurants that won’t let teams order by jersey number.  They always insist it’s easier to do it their way.  Ultimately, they find that their way wasn’t the best way.  At 1:00 am in the morning it’s a bit aggravating to watch them enter and re-enter food trying to figure out what check the meal should be on.  We didn’t get back to the hotel until after 1:00 and were absolutely fried.

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I got up for breakfast, but Goalielocks was fried so he stayed in bed.  They had amazing pancakes with  white chocolate cream sauce and berries that had become his favorite.  Fortunately, the restaurant was able to make and pack up his meal as I finished mine.  By the time I returned from breakfast, Goalielocks was up and ready to eat.  We didn’t have a ton of time, so I finished packing while he ate. 

By 12:00 pm we were back at the rink for the 1:20 pm championship game.  We booked our flight out of O’Hare for 5:00 pm, so I knew it was going to be tight getting out there.  We were also meeting the hubby and my Mayor in Atlanta, so rescheduling was really out of the question.  Especially since I had my hubby’s truck keys.  The game itself was a complete gong show.  The other team started head hunting early and we fed into it.  By the end of the second period, more than an hour had elapsed.  Our games Sunday were relatively clean and quick.  This one was not.  In the end, we had to leave early in order to get to O’Hare on time.  Fortunately, we were able to beat the team we lost to on Saturday night, so our squad left Chicago as champions!

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We raced to the airport literally and figuratively.   Fortunately, the lines at security were not too bad.  We ended up having to wait longer for the shuttle from the rental car center than for TSA.  By the time we got to our gate, our flight was starting to board.  It was complete relief once we made it on board.  I texted the hubby our food order from the plane, since he’d be landing in Atlanta about an hour before us.

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We finally started to push back and then we sat.  Apparently, the tarmac was a bit icy, so our bird slid a bit out of position.  Consequently, we had to wait for the ground crew to come back and push us out further.  This was a first for us as travelers.  As a result, we ended up with a ten minute delay, which wasn’t bad.  Our flight was quick and fun.  Goalielocks and I enjoyed dipping our Biscoff cookies in our drinks (coffee with Bailey’s and coke respectively) and playing a word puzzle game on my phone.  The landing into Atlanta was hard and we took a bounce, but the flight was otherwise uneventful.

Thankfully, I had upgraded to comfort seats, so we were just behind first class.  If we had been at the back of the plane, we may have had issues making our connecting flight.  Our plane from Chicago arrived at gate C26 and our flight to Fort Lauderdale was departing from A2.  We booked (don’t worry I didn’t run) as fast as we could through the C terminal and to the tram.   After the tram, we were dodging obliviots that kept stopping in the walk-way to get to our gate quickly.  It was well worth the effort as we were rewarded with familiar faces and some grub.

The flight from ATL to Fort Lauderdale is pretty quick and was uneventful.  We were relieved that all of our luggage arrived in one piece quickly after we had gotten off the plane.  After a forty minute drive, we were home.  It felt amazing to sleep in my own bed.    Meanwhile, Chicago got hit by freezing rain today with over 800 flights cancelled.  We’re glad to be home and in the warmth.    Overall, our weekend was amazing and one that we’ll always look back on fondly!

Day One Chicago

Day one in Chicago has been fun. We beat the storm in, which was fabulous. In fact, it really didn’t start to snow until nighttime. After leaving the airport in my sexy Buick rental car, we hit Target to pick up some snacks and drinks for the room.

For Goalielocks, Target was just one more delay in eating a nice, hot slice of Giordano’s pizza. We checked out and quickly headed to Giordano’s thinking the storm would stay at anytime. Fortunately, we could leave our groceries in the car as we ate. I definitely miss that ability in Florida where we have to race home so our freezer items don’t melt!

Giordano’s was the perfect anecdote to a long day of travel. Our short layover in Detroit afforded us no time to eat. Consequently, we were quite hungry. The beauty of deep dish pizza, at least for me, is that one piece will leave you satiated for the rest of the day. In fact, neither Colin nor myself ate the rest of the day. Our late lunch at Giordano’s was enough to tide us over for the rest of the day.

The snow was absolutely beautiful this morning. We got about five inches at the hotel. The major roads appear to be relatively clean with some of the side roads still quite slippery and snow covered. I’m truly not looking forward to driving forty minutes southwest for tonight’s game. As for the temperature, it’s still pretty comfortable. The wind, however has picked up quite a bit, which is blowing snow everywhere. Meanwhile in Minnesota, my Mayor and hubby were enjoying sub zero weather.

Our hotel is nice enough and centrally located to the mall and Dunkin’. I dropped Goalielocks and his friends at the mall this morning, so they could do something other than look for ponds near the hotel. While they canvassed the mall, I headed to Ikea. I love that the store reminds me of my Scandinavian travels and the AirBnB’s we stayed in that were filled with IKEA items.

After the mall, Goalielocks and his boys headed back outside to cause trouble. They found some nice snowballs. The majority of which seemed to end up on Goalielocks’ pants and hoodie. He’s now down to one pair of pants that isn’t soaked or muddy. His nice Adidas joggers got a bit muddy after he broke the ice at the edge of the pond. You can only imagine how happy I was upon hearing that story.

While Goalielocks wrecked yet another pair of pants, I decided to do some yoga. I took a risk and did a vinyasa video from Fightmaster Yoga. It felt incredible, but it definitely got my heart rate pumping. I did modify some of the exercises to bring my heart rate back down. I’m not sure if it was the fact I’d only drank coffee today or Graves’ disease, but it was annoying either way.

Meanwhile in Minny, my Mayor is having a blast with his team and has already hit White Castle twice. Like I’ve shared before, he’s got an iron gut. At present, he and his team are playing at outdoor game not far from my Aunt and Uncle’s house. Tonight they’ll head down to the Excel Energy Center to see the Wild attempt to play. Last night, the Mayor got to see one of our favorite coaches and his mite coach, Coach Ryan. It’s awesome how hockey introduces you to great paths and how your paths keep crossing through the game we all love.

Chicago Bound… Hopefully

We’re Chicago bound hopefully… I say hopefully because we’ve made it as far as the runway in Detroit and now are parked on the tarmac. My hopes of getting into the city and situated before snowmageddon and Chicago rush hour are starting to dwindle. Ugh! I hate driving in the snow and I hate driving in rush hour traffic.

We had a nice flight from FLL to Detroit. Including some vintage Saved By the Bell episodes. They did make me feel a bit old, but also had me reminiscing about Saturday mornings. Afterwards we had a nice run down (don’t worry mom I walked) the terminal from gate A60 to A9. And now we wait!

While we wait here’s some things I’m looking forward to in Chicago:

  • Getting to hang out with my BFF Jenny
  • Hanging out with our hockey family
  • Watching the beautiful snow fall from the comfort of my hotel bed
  • Catching up on sleep after only getting 4 hours of it last night
  • Giordano’s pizza
  • Lou Malnati’s pizza
  • Thankful that I’m not on keto- see above!
  • Finally exploring the Schaumburg IKEA after driving by it for year. It works out since I need more lingonberry and cloudberry jam
  • And especially hanging out with Goalielocks

Good news is we’re ready for takeoff!!!! Chicago here we come!

And They’re Off

And they’re off to the frozen tundra for a weekend of fun, family and of course hockey. Luckily the Mayor will be playing at our old home rink, so they’ll be plenty of family to support him. It’s also pretty nice that they get to stay at Hotel Grandma and Grandpa instead of a Holiday Inn!

Goalielocks and I will be heading north to Chicago Friday for his tournament. I’m keeping a watchful and anxious eye on the weather. I absolutely hate the idea of having to drive in a snow storm, but at this point it seems inevitable. I look forward to sharing our adventures this weekend on the blog. You can be sure it will include a lot of good Chicago pizza!

Just Like That

Just like that we’ve made it to Sunday evening and are now staring down another Monday.   Sunday evening shares an odious border with Monday morning.  No matter what is on the weekend docket, it seems to fly by!   Friday ended late with hellish traffic on the turnpike and 441.  By the time I picked up Goalielocks from his friend’s house, it was well after 7:00 pm.   When I finally got home it was after 7:30 pm.  Friday night was such a blur, I can’t even tell you what we had for dinner.

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Saturday brought a busy schedule with a stretch session at Massage Envy in the morning and two games for the Mayor in the afternoon/evening.  Since my injury and diagnosis, I haven’t been able to do much at all.  Consequently, I’ve been quite stiff.  Teodora is a gem, thought, she gave me a nice, easy and effective stretch.  It would have been great to have an hour session, but I wasn’t sure how I’d tolerate it.  Simply put it felt amazing to stretch and be stretched.

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No sooner had I gotten home then we had to head up to the rink for the Mayor’s games.  Thankfully, his two games were local this weekend.  After coaxing with a trip to the Apple Store, Goalielocks joined me for the games.  The first game, against our organization’s 07′ team, was quite close.  The Mayor opened up scoring with a nice shot in the first period.  Fortunately, I not only had the goal horn queued, but it worked almost immediately.  That contest ended in a 2-2 tie.   Bottom line is we needed at least a point out of that game and we got it.

Between games, my plan was to go home, relax and have my groceries delivered, but with a little coaxing I quickly changed my plans.  We headed to the Brass Monkey, our favorite dive bar/restaurant near the rink with some of the Mayor’s teammates.  Fortunately, for me and my sparkling chardonnay, Jake was home to receive the grocery delivery (#crisis averted.). The food at the Monkey is quite good, but the service is less than stellar.  Saturday’s performance was no exception to these rules.  I think my favorite part is when the server charged all of the bills on the wrong credit cards.  Unbelievably, our bill and the family whose bill we paid were within cents of each other. It was, however, quite entertaining.

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Post dive bar dinner, we headed back to to rink for game two.  I was hoping it would be a good game, but we didn’t play our best.  We ended up giving up two short-handed goals due to silly errors.  Again I had the goal horn queued, but sadly wasn’t able to use it for our boys.  I wish I had more photos and videos to post, but I was playing music at the Mayor’s request.

Today Goalielocks and I endured iPhone warranty hell courtesy of Best Buy and T-Mobile.  The process to get it handled by insurance takes entirely too long.  While going outside of the insurance process costs entirely too much.  Ultimately, I ended up paying out-of-pocket, so Goalielocks could have a working phone.  Last Friday his school had a gas leak and his phone stopped working.  Fortunately, he actually knows my phone number, so he called me from his friend’s house.   After more than two hours, his phone was finally ready and operational.  He was ecstatic and I was exhausted!

Before venturing into iPhone repair hell, I made some blueberry muffins, as part of my meal prep, for the week.  Sadly, they didn’t make it past 12:00 pm.   Fortunately, I wasn’t the one that ate them all.   After fixing Goalielock’s phone, I came back to prep my meals for the week.  This week I made butternut squash noodles with lemon chicken sauce.  I adapted the recipe from a great recipe I saw on Facebook using spaghetti squash.  To save time, I opted for the pre-packaged butternut squash noodles. This saved forty minutes of cook time and cut down the work.  Here’s the recipe: Lemon chicken with butternut squash noodles.

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According to Myfitness Pal, with the butternut squash noodles and no added cheese, this dish has 229 calories with 16 net carbs, 20 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.  Lastly, it is 3 Weight Watchers points.   If you try it, let me know how you liked it.   The meal prep containers came from Amazon and are available for purchase here.  Their top and bottom shelf dishwasher safe, freezer and microwave safe and free of BPAs.

Thursday Eve

It’s Thursday eve, or hump day as we affectionately call it in corporate America. There’s something magical about the promise of a Wednesday.  We’re oh so close to magical Friday afternoon.   In our house, Wednesdays are also the only weekday where we can enjoy dinner as a family.  It’s a nice rarity.  Fortunately for me, the hubby usually has dinner done or in progress by the time I get home.  It’s such a relief to not have to cook.

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I was reminded tonight of the importance of being exceptionally specific when giving teenage boys directives.  Sunday I had asked Goalielocks to bring down all his dirty clothes and towels, so he have clean clothes when school started.  There was one crucial mistake in that sentence: the phrase “when school started.”  Apparently, this freed the way for him to only wash the clothes he needs for this week.

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When going upstairs to find my mouse, I noticed the error of my ways.   His room still look like a clothes/bath towel box had exploded.  Clearly, he hasn’t watched Tidying UP on Netflix.  Or perhaps he misunderstood the directions to put all the clothes on your bed before figuring out what he could part with, but somehow I don’t think that’s the case.  See when raising teenage boys, you have to be exceedingly specific and definitive in your directives.  Moreover, you have to follow it up with turning off the wifi until the chore is done.

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To be fair, both Goalielocks and his older brother Jake do their own laundry, so I can’t complain too loudly about his laundry.  It’s just when Goalielocks does laundry, he only does 10%.  Marie Kondo would lose her mind!  Now for the good news.  With the youngest in seventh grade, I’m a year away from only have to do me and my hubby’s laundry.  That will be an awesome day!

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An update to the thyroid, I’m still hyperactive and there’s inflammation in the gland.  This is part of the process of they thyroid dying, but it’s taking forever and I’m impatient. Due to the thyroid, I’ve been running hot (low-grade fever) for the past several weeks.  My heart rate has come down a bit since last week, which is a relief.  It had a mind of its own last week, so I skipped the trip to Tampa with Goalielocks.  After all if my heart rate Friday was 105 bps sitting at my desk while on beta blockers, my heart rate watching my goalie would have been dangerous.   Good times!

While I wait for the hyperthyroidism to abate, I’m taking it completely easy.  At this point, I’m not even non-aggressively riding my bike.  We’ve had a cold in the house, so I’ve been taking fresh ginger shots with lemon to boost my immune system and reduce inflammation.  It’s amazing how sweet a lemon tastes after drinking ginger.  If you haven’t tried it, I do recommend it.  For my S. Florida peeps, I recommend checking out Juiceberry in Boynton in Deerfield Beach or Smoothie Whirl’d in Boynton and West Palm.  A solid online option is Jus by Julie’s boosters.  When bundled with a cleanse, they’re 30% off through Sunday with the discount code Cleanse30.   Since we’ll be traveling a bit in the coming weeks, it will be easier for me to have them delivered.

 

My Favorite Referee

Since 2010, I’ve been a loud and proud hockey mom, now I’m mom to my favorite referee.  Oh yes, my Goalielocks has become a zebra.  The oft maligned position in sports is as critical to the sport as it is criticized.  It’s a tough position with lot’s of pressure in any environment.  When you throw crazy hockey parents on top of that it’s a lot.

There are a lot of great reasons for your kid to become a referee many of which I’ll cover here.  I’ll start with the obvious: they make good money as a teen.  I’m so excited for my second born to have his own income.  There’s no better way for him to understand the value of a dollar then by earning his own.  In order to make the same money at a normal “teen” job, he’d have to work more than double the hours.  With his intense school schedule and travel hockey schedule, refereeing is the perfect part time job for him.

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Selfishly, it’s been nice because I’ve learned a lot.  We’ve got a couple of rule books around the house and I watched some of the modules with him.  Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the rules from my referee friends.  (Extra bonus is that he now gets to work with these fabulous people.). Nonetheless, there’s still a knowledge gap. Thankfully, when I’m watching a game and have a question about a call or a rule, he can explain it to me.

It’s also a great way for hockey player to learn the game and see it in a different light.  Goalielocks has been in net for close to a decade and before that played out as a forward.  When you referee a game, you see it in a whole different way.  One that gives you appreciate and enhances your knowledge of the game.  What could be bad about that?

In addition, to enhancing their knowledge of the game, refereeing gives young referees the opportunity to learn important life skills. Hockey is a fast game and being able to see and make the right call is awesome.  The ability to make decisions under pressure is a crucial skill that will translate well into adulthood.

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Lastly, and I’m sure I’m missing many reasons, it teaches them conflict resolution.  There will be times that calls are made that coaches, parents and players will disagree with.  As a referee, their job is resolve that conflict as professionally as possible.  These conflicts can be highly emotional and aren’t always easy to solve, but this teaches a valuable life skill.  Where else can a teenager get that kind of on the job experience?

As for my young zebra, he refereed his first squirt game with his mentor.  It was his first full ice game, but he picked up quickly.  As his games progressed yesterday, it was fun to watch him grow increasingly confident in his role.  He capped off his day by scorekeeping a couple of rec games, so he could learn how to use the clock.

For all my Florida hockey parents, your kid can start refereeing at fourteen.  The referee seminars are held in the fall throughout Florida.  If you have any questions, let me know!

Looking for referee gear, you can shop his look here:

 

Reading My Way Back to Health

In order to keep myself sane and intellectually engaged,  I’ve been reading my way back to health.  Over the past eight months, I’ve been out of my normal routine due to injury and health concerns.  Sadly, I often found myself too exhausted to write.  Fortunately, I was able to draw my reading list off The Greatest Books.  First, of all I like the site because it has a thoughtfully curated list of the best fiction and non-fiction works of all time.  Secondly, I love that you can track what you’ve read and what you want to read.

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I’ve read some amazing works from a myriad of different genres and authors across time.  Since I’ve read some wonderful works of fiction, I’d thought I’d share some of them with you.   Here’s the list of my favorites:

If you’ve never read Wilkie Collins, your missing out.  He’s a one of kind author, who narrates his stories from multiple viewpoints.  His plot development and character development are amazing.   Collins was a contemporary and good friend of Charlies Dickens.  He was also a huge influence to Edgar Allen Poe.  Once you read both these books, I think you’ll find that the great Agatha Christie was influenced by him as well.

When I first picked up Ana Karenina, I was a bit intimidated.  It is a thick book. As I got into it, I loved it.  Tolstoy doesn’t waste a word.   I was happy to find that Tolstoy didn’t incorporate essays with in the books or long tangents like those found in his contemporaries works.  Both Ana Karenina and Resurrection are beautiful stories.  In Anna Karenina, he tells the story of the titular characters life and the consequences of her choices.  It’s a tragic story told beautifully.  In Resurrection, he tells the story of man confronted by the impact his choices had on someone he loved.   In the end, he finds his redemption in a most obvious spot.  Truly, after finishing both novels, I feel compelled to travel to Saint Petersburg and the rest of Tolstoy’s Russia.

After finishing Nabokov’s Lolita,  I needed a literary pick me up and a shower.  That book will leave you feeling dirty…. I turned to Hesse’s Siddharta.. Hesse, of German-Swiss descent, bring a unique east meets west perspective.   This novel follows the spiritual journey of Siddharta.  His quest for enlightenment puts him in places and situations he never could have imagined.  It’s a beautiful book.

I loved Narcissus and Goldmund, which tells the tale of two best friends who are diametrically different, but still love each other.  While Goldmund leaves the monastery in search of the meaning of life.  His mentor and friend Narcissus stays in monastic life.  Throughout their lives they take different paths, but eventually their paths reunite.  It’s a beautiful tale of friendship and life.

It took me awhile to get into Steppenwolf, but eventually I was pulled into the world of Harry Haller.  Like the other two Hesse books, this one explores the duality of human nature.  This time in main character Harry Haller and not two separate characters like in Narcissus and Goldmund.   At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any of these books by Hesse.

Since I was heading to Scandinavia this fall, I wanted to read something that was Scandinavian.  After much research and a couple of recommendations, I decided to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. While in Finland, I finally started reading the book and I couldn’t put it down.  I loved that I could imagine where they were in Gamle Stan in Stockholm since I was just there.

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It’s an awful tragedy that we lost Stieg Larsson before these books were publishes.  He turned in the manuscripts for the first three installments in the Millennium Series, but died shortly after.  His books are incredible.  There are few characters in literature as vivid, damaged and bad ass as Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.

I’ve already read the first four books in the series and cannot wait to read the fifth.  Since Larsson’s premature death prevented him from finishing the Millennium series, David Lagercrantz took up the mantle.  I was worried that Lagercrantz’s take on Larsson’s characters would be unfaithful to the original.  Lagercratnz had huge shoes to fill, but he did it beautifully.  The continuity between the characters and stories between Larsson’s and Lagercrantz’s books is seamless. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  If you love Daniel Craig, like I do, you’ll love him in the movie version.

These are just a few of the books I’ve read since last summer that really resonated with me.  I’ve included links to Amazon for each of my recommended books.  I’m always looking for good book recommendations.  What’s your favorite book?  What books do you recommend?